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You Need a Mobile-ready Website before your Google SEO is Adversely Affected!
Having a Mobile-Ready Responsive Website is Essential.
Google page ranking will change in May 2016. Google is changing their algorithm to penalize sites that are not mobile-ready by ranking those static sites lower in search results.
We have your solution, here at PROTECH (located at PRO), we build responsive real estate websites that are mobile-ready and have IDX real estate search included.
Example of a PROTECH Responsive Mobile-Ready Site (click to view website):
Static vs Responsive Websites:
To help you in making the transition to a mobile-friendly site we are having an April Website Promotional Offer:
$25 off the setup of our Starter Sites and $50 off the setup of our Premium websites.
Promotional Offer valid only until May 1st!
Call us 727-216-3008 or click here to order a Responsive Mobile-Ready website today.
Don’t you wish your website had a “Check Engine Light” so you’d know when it needs maintenance?
I often hear business owners taking the “create it and forget it” approach to their website then they wonder why it stops showing up in searches and bringing in leads.
Like your car or home, your website needs regular maintenance to perform well. Imagine for a moment if you didn’t change the oil or transmission fluid in your car or replace worn tires. Your smooth ride would eventually turn into a “ride to remember” and may require a lot of expensive repairs. The same goes for your website: links break, rules change and competitors’ websites move past yours in searches.
So why go to the trouble and expense of maintaining your website? Here are three good reasons.
Google keeps changing the rules.
Competitors change their websites and web presence.
Web designs trends change.
Let PROTECH be your “Check Engine Light”
There has been a lot of discussion lately about how to market to Millenials. Who are these mysterious people? You may even be one! Here’s a definition from a Google Search–“There are no precise dates for when the generation starts and ends; most researchers and commentators use birth years ranging from the early 1980s to the early 2000s.” So we know some Millenials have reached adulthood and are ready to find a home of their own.
But do they rent? Do they buy? And what do “they” like and want out of a home? Three bullet points (that bode well for our St. Pete area in general) are:
- They value community, neighborhood quality, and convenience to their workplace.
- They tend to want older homes. The “HGTV era” has given lots of good ideas to people looking for an affordable single family home. They are willing to put in the time and work older houses require. Think DIY and fixer uppers!
- They are interested in moving to either suburbs with a core downtown, or moving to places that have easy access to shopping, restaurants, and entertainment.
So now we know what the average Millenial is looking for, how will they find that perfect home? The number one thing to keep in mind is they are multi-taskers who value their time. They prefer to search online as opposed to attending countless open houses, and they thrive on information. To connect with this generation:
- Use mobile-friendly websites and tablet applications to provide easy property searches.
- Provide details, pictures, and virtual tours.
- Provide your expert help in navigating the home-buying process. Use your website blog to supply infographics that walk them through home-buying processes, loan qualifying tips, and lists frequently asked questions by first-time buyers.
Set yourself up as the Real Estate Expert in your client’s eyes. Let PROTECH be your website expert.
Trends in the Marketplace
Have you ever viewed a website on your cell phone and the navigation buttons were so tiny you accidentally clicked on the wrong link? Then in a panic, you stab at the screen to go back a page and you clicked something else! At this point all you want to do is just forget it, close the whole browser window and end the session.
Chances are, this was not a responsive design website
Poor website design can create a painful user experience. And painful user experiences are reflected in your site’s metrics. Analytics reports will show high abandonment rates, low stickiness, and no page depth for mobile users.
The good news is there’s a fix!
Making The Case For Responsive Design
If the idea of responsive web design or SEO isn’t clicking with you yet, think about it from another perspective: it’s all about making your website easier to find and use, regardless of the user’s device. Still not sure how important it is for your website to be responsive to mobile users?
A few statistics should provide some perspective on the mobile market:
- 60% of internet access is on a mobile device
- 90% of U.S. adults own a cell phone
- 64% of Americans own a smartphone.
And to boot, Google’s search methodology gives preferential treatment to sites that are responsive or mobile-friendly. Their intentions couldn’t be clearer:
“…We will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices,” said Google.
Google hasn’t specified a penalty for non-responsive websites, but the reality is that mobile-friendly sites will likely be the first results shown.
If your site isn’t responsive or mobile optimized, contact us, and together we can walk through your needs and provide you with a proposal to get you to where you need to be
Source: Sir Speedy Newsletter
PROTech builds nothing but responsive sites. Contact up for questions or to get your website up to par and make sure Google doesn’t ignore you in the future. 727-216-3008 or protechflorida.com.
Is the .com domain name you really want already taken? Never fear, there’s a new domain extension in town, and it’s full of SEO potential for real estate practitioners.
The sunrise registration period opened just last Monday for the new.Homes top-level domain. “Sunrise” registration is a limited window of time that allows trademark holders to purchase .Homes domains that match their marks before registration is opened to the general public. That means if you’ve trademarked the name of your real estate team or practice–Central Coast Realty™, for example–you can now reserve CentralCoastRealty.Homes so that your company’s name isn’t taken by somebody else. The Sunrise period runs through May 6. You can learn more here.
However, the domain names with the highest SEO potential are up for grabs on May 12, when open registration starts. Because registration will then no longer be restricted to trademark holders, agents and brokers can buy names that reflect their area, like Boston.Homes. The reason a domain like this has so much SEO potential is because it matches the phrases that consumers are likely to search for, e.g. Boston homes or Boston homes for sale.
.Homes domain names are only available to professionals who serve the residential real estate industry. This includes agents, brokers, mortgage professionals, appraisers, property managers, builders, home insurers, MLSs, and associations. Dominion Enterprises, the operator of Homes.com, is the exclusive registrar of .Homes domain names. To learn more, visit domains.homes.
Other Domain Extensions for Real Estate Pros
.Homes isn’t the only real estate related domain extension out there. In October 2014, the .REALTOR domain extension became available to members of the National Association of Realtors and the Canadian Real Estate Association. Realtors can snag their first year’s registration of .REALTOR domains for free through the end of 2016. You can claim your .REALTOR domain here.
As for other domain extensions… well, there are quite a few that may interest agents and brokers. Here’s a sampling:
Dot com alternatives are a great way to differentiate yourself from the competition. And with a well chosen domain name in play, you can potentially earn your website a lot of welcome SEO juice. Is a .Homes, .REALTOR, or other alternative domain something you’d consider for your business? Let us know in the comments below!
Have you ever wondered what the newest social media app is and what it means/does? As the web and social media communication evolve, new buzz words are added to the dictionary and new services are available to all of us. It doesn’t matter if you’re a total newbie or even if you’ve played in the Facebook and Twitter world a bit, you might not know how these social media services work for you to get your message (and listings) out into the world— we can dive deeper in a future post.
For now, what do all these new buzz words even mean? We’ve made it easy for you with the list below. Get out your SEO/Social Media “flashcards” and enjoy!
Thanks to Website Magazine for providing the following…
Aggregator – a Web-based tool or application that gathers and displays content from a variety of sources to an end-user.
Avatar – the primary image associated with a social network member’s account.
Board – a Pinterest feature that allows users to organize the content they have “pinned.”
Bolt – an Instagram offshoot, Bolt is a messaging app that lets users take and send photos to friends.
Check-In – an action that connects a person to a physical location. People can “check in” to locations on social networks like Facebook and Foursquare.
Circles – a Google+ feature that allows users to put people together into specified groups. Through this feature, Google+ users have the ability to share updates with specific groups of people in pre-defined “circles.”
Comment – a public response to a status update or other piece of content.
Community – a feature on Google+ that allows members to create niche groups where people with similar interests can interact. Communities can be made public or kept private.
Connection – people who are part of a LinkedIn user’s personal network. Similar to a Facebook “friend” or a Twitter “follower.”
CrowdPost – a proximity-based iOS social media app that connects users based on their location.
Dashboard – an administrative interface that typically allows users to monitor social network activity as well as take actions like sharing content.
Direct Message (DM) – a private conversation between two users on Twitter.
Engagement – a vague term that describes participation with a brand’s content on social networks. Typically, brands take fan and follower actions such as likes, retweets, shares and comments into consideration when measuring engagement.
Facebook – the world’s largest social network, with 1.23 billion monthly active users.
Facebook Audience Network – a mobile ad network that targets users in other apps using Facebooks demographic information.
Fan – a Facebook user who follows a brand or business Page.
Favorite – an action that represents a user’s approval of a piece of content on Twitter.
Filter – an image customization tool which users can leverage to change the tone and look of their photo.
Flickr – a photo sharing community that allows both amateurs and professionals to post images they have taken and receive comments and even negotiate purchases with those who are interested in the photos.
Follower – someone who has chosen to receive your tweets in their Twitter timeline.
Foursquare – a location-based social network that enables users to discover new locations and check-in, share and save places they have visited.
Friend – a Facebook connection between two people. Both parties must agree to become “friends” before a connection is made.
Google+ – a social network created by Google where users can share content and connect with other members. Businesses can add photos, contact information and more that will appear in Google’s search engine result pages.
Group – this feature is available on both LinkedIn and Facebook. It enables users to create a niche community where people with similar interests can communicate with each other. Similar to Google+ Communities.
Hangout – a feature available on Google+ that allows a group of people to have conversations and share content with each other. Users also have the ability to start video hangouts with up to 10 friends.
Hashtag – an interactive feature that allows social network users to relate a status update to a broader topic.
Handle – the name a Twitter member chooses to represent themselves. To interact with another Twitter member, users must address them with the @ symbol and the person’s handle, such as @WebsiteMagazine.
Influencer – a brand’s most valuable audience members. Typically, influencers are active in the social community and have the ability to sway the opinions of their followers.
Instagram – an online photo-sharing social network where users can share filtered photos and videos. Instagram is owned by Facebook.
Instagram Direct – a communication method that allows Instagram users to send photos and videos privately to another user.
Instagram Explore – a new tab that helps users discover new content that is relevant to their interests.
Like – an action that social network users can take to show their approval of a status update. In addition, Facebook users can “Like” pages in order to receive the Page’s status updates in their newsfeeds.
LinkedIn – a social network for professionals, users are able to post their job experience and skills, find personal and professional contacts, search for jobs, blog and much more.
LinkedIn Ads – a self-service advertising solution that allows its users to create and place ads on the LinkedIn.com website.
Lists – a curated group of Twitter users.
Meme – a generally recognized piece of content that typically pokes fun of a person, place or situation. Typically, memes are shared by many people and quickly go viral.
Message – a private communication method between two or more users on Facebook.
Messenger – an app to which Facebook transferred all of its messaging power. Users are able to chat with their friends in a similar manner to text messaging.
Newsfeed – the homepage of a social network that is continuously refreshed with activity updates from a user’s friends or followers.
Page – a Facebook profile for a business or a brand. Facebook users can “like” pages but they cannot be friends with pages.
Pinterest – a pinboard-style social network where users can share content and create theme-based collections.
Pin – a piece of content shared by Pinterest users.
Poke – a Facebook action that allows one user to interact with another user through a virtual “poke.”
Profile – the Web page of a social network user that displays any content that the user has shared.
Promoted Content – a way to increase the reach of a profile or a specific piece of content on social networks. Promoted content is paid for and thus an advertisement.
Reddit – the so-called “front page of the Internet” has hundreds of subpages (called subreddits) for various topics from Space Jam to Astronomy and Politics where users can submit posts and comments to drive discussion.
Retweet – an action that allows users to share another user’s content on Twitter.
Rich Pin – pins that feature extra content, such as a map, product pricing, recipe details and more. There are multiple types of Rich Pins, including Place Pins, Article Pins, Product Pins, Recipe Pins and Movie Pins.
Sentiment – the implied attitude behind user comments. Social media monitoring tools can help brands measure sentiment in order to gauge the overall perception of a company or specific marketing promotions.
Share – an action that allows someone to publish content from another source. The content is “shared” to that user’s personal social network.
Snapchat – a photo messaging mobile app that allows user to take photos or record videos and send them to selected friends. Each piece of content sent has a time limit (1-10 seconds) for viewing. After the content has been viewed it is not able to be seen again unless it is part of a Snapchat Story.
Snapcash – Snapchat users are able to send and receive money from Snapchat friends after entering their debit card information.
Snapchat Ads – Snapchat introduced its first ad in Oct. 2014. Users are able to view ads in the Stories section of the app.
Snapchat Chat – Chat enables users to have a private conversation with friends via text, snaps and previously saved videos and images.
Snapchat Discover – a storytelling feature where users are able to find Stories from a variety of sources including CNN, Comedy Central and Food Network.
Snapchat Story – Snapchat users can put content into a “story” for 24-hour viewing. Typically, stories are made up of a string of content that creates a narrative.
Social Listening – a tool that enables users to monitor and measure what is being said about a brand on social networks.
Social Login – a sign-in form which allows users to leverage their social media credentials on a third-party website instead of having to create separate login credentials.
Status Update – a piece of content shared by a social network member.
StumbleUpon – a social discovery engine that helps users discover new and unique things from across the Web through recommendations.
Subreddit – a community subpage on reddit like r/pics and r/tech that discuss relevant topics to the community.
Swarm – a social meetup app spawned from parent Foursquare that lets users check in wherever they are.
Syndicated Promoted Tweet – a promoted Tweet that can be seen off of Twitter.
Timeline – Facebook’s newest profile layout that display’s a user’s collection of shared content.
Trending Topic – the most popular topics currently being discussed on a social network.
Tumblr – a microblogging platform owned by Yahoo. Currently, Tumblr has more than 172 million blogs on its platform.
Tweet – a Twitter status update.
Twitter – a popular social network that allows users to post 140-character status updates.
Twitter Discover – the Discover tab enables users to find new hashtags which may be of interest to them.
URL Shortener – a tool that converts a long URL into a shortened version that is easier to share, especially on social networks.
Vine – a mobile app owned by Twitter that allows users to share short videos that play in a continuous loop.
Viral – a piece of content that is rapidly and organically shared.
WhatsApp – acquired by Facebook, WhatsApp is a mobile messaging app.
Word-of-Mouth Marketing – an unpaid form of promotion by a customer on behalf of a brand.
YouTube – a video-sharing platform owned by Google.
YouTube Kids – specifically designed for kids, YouTube Kids has a variety of videos for kids to learn from and parental control settings to make sure kids watch only age appropriate videos.
I really like the picture editor and the DocuSign extension right in your browser. Very handy.
Want to get more out of your online experience? Put your web browser to work for you! Google’s Chrome browser offers thousands of extensions that you can install to boost your productivity. Like apps for your mobile phone, these add-ons range from social media sharing buttons to extensions that block online distractions so that you can better focus on important tasks.
Ready to give your productivity a boost? These seven Chrome extensions can help turn you into a web power user!
1. Write Space
This extension lets you write and edit text right from your browser. Write Space’s design is simple and clean, a lack of clutter that makes it easier to focus on writing rather than outside distractions. (The app’s creators suggest turning your browser to full-screen mode to reduce distractions even further!)
Our favorite feature of Write Space is how it automatically saves everything as you type, so you never have to worry about accidentally losing your work. It’s convenient, too. Rather than booting up Word or another program to write down notes, just open this extension in a new browser tab and start typing!
Have you ever needed to take a screenshot of an entire webpage or document–including the parts that you’d have to scroll down to see? Awesome Screenshot to the rescue! This extension lets you easily capture all kinds of screenshots, from the whole page to a small selection. The best part about Awesome Screenshot is that it lets you annotate any of your screenshots with text, shapes, highlights, and more.
Need to convert that Word document into a PDF, or that .RAW image file into something web friendly, like a .JPG? This extension can convert over 200 different file types into whatever you need. You can even set it up to automatically save converted files to your Dropbox, Google Drive, or other cloud storage solution.
Edit your listing photos without leaving your browser. This extension lets you crop, resize, adjust, add text to photos, and much more. If you have little experience in more advanced editing techniques like adjusting color balance, Pixlr’s Auto Fix feature can do it for you in just one click. All images can be easily saved back to your desktop for sharing on social media or uploading to the MLS.
5. Font Changer
Few things are more frustrating than a website that’s hard to read, especially if it contains important information that you need! Banish unreadable typefaces with Font Changer which, well, changes the font of whatever webpage you’re on so that it’s easier to read. This extension lets you choose the font you’d rather read, and even set up alternative fonts for all sites or just the sites that really, really bug you.
Ah, Facebook…that gloriously distracting time suck. If you find you can’t resist logging in when you should be doing work-related things instead, try this extension. It blocks your Facebook newsfeed, so that even if you log into Facebook, all you see is a whole lotta nothing. Consider it your own personal productivity police.
Do you use DocuSign as your eSignature platform of choice? If so, check out this extension to make working with the program even easier. With it, you can open documents for signing or sending right from Gmail or Dropbox. The extension installs a handy button on your browser’s task bar so you can access DocuSign easily or check on the status of any document with one click.
By Kelly Phelan
There are multiple ways to market homes and some are more effective than others. Your marketing plan needs to include various approaches to make sure you bring in those valuable leads.
Let’s take a look at the various methods of effective advertising and communication:
Professional Photography – This should be your first step in marketing a home. A photo says a thousand words and it is worth your money to invest in getting great photos taken either by a professional photographer or by taking photos yourself (if you have a high quality camera). Prospective buyers want to see the front of the house and various exterior photos of the house that highlight additional features such as a pool, size of the yard, etc. Interior photos are essential, buyers want to see exactly what the home has to offer.
Email Marketing – you can use services such as www.ConstantContact.com and www.Mailchimp.com to email prospective clients. But, the open rate on emails averages at around 20%. Not exactly the most effective way to reach clients. You can’t dismiss email marketing though, there is still that 20% of people that might just see that email.
Direct Mail – Postcards. We have heard from many of our website clients that postcards have been proven to be very effective. Its important to get creative with postcards. For example, you could focus on a target area by listing the upcoming events and make sure to include your Brokerage/Agent information. People are more likely to look at a postcard that gives them information of entertainment and things to do that are in their local area. Postcards that focus on a featured property are also effective. The biggest thing to realize is that people look at postcards before they toss them out. At least they take a look at your postcard (this beats the 20% open rate of email).
Google Adwords – Market a home by targeting specific keywords people search for on Google. This type of marketing can get time consuming and expensive. But, with a bit of work and targeting of specific areas your Google Adwords Online Ads can show up in both Google Searches and also seen on the Content Network of Google Adsense Publishers.
Websites – every Realtor should have a website to feature their properties. You need a home base for communication with your clients. Having your own website is an essential tool in completing the circle of marketing. Additionally, creating one-off websites for featured properties is an effective way to focus a consumer on just one property.
If you are interested in getting a website created to help market your properties, please consider contacting us at 727-216-3008 or click here to view our website packages.
For more tips on marketing your home: click here.
Are you using your new IDX to its full potential? Help your clients find their dream home faster by setting up searches and saving homes on their behalf. As an Agent, you can use the “Use as Prospect” feature to set up listing alert emails for your clients – even if they haven’t directly signed up to your MLS Search. Just follow these steps:
1. Sign into your LeadMagic Admin Account.
2. Click the Use as Prospect button.
3. In the Use as Prospect dialog box, fill in the information for your client and click Use As.
4. Create a search for your client using the appropriate filters, and click Save this Search (below the map).
5. Your client will now receive a daily email digest of new results from the search.
Note: you can also use the Love It (heart) icon to save individual listings for your client.
6. When you’re finished, click Return to Admin to return to your Agent Dashboard.
While some want you to believe that blogging is an art, it really isn’t. Anyone with thoughts in their head and a keyboard can construct a blog post. Being a successful real estate blogger, however, requires being mindful of the topics you choose and the construction of your blog posts.
Blogging is time intensive. But then, so is mailing out 1,000 postcards, cold calling or door knocking. If you’re considering ramping up your blogging efforts to reel in new clients, read on for some helpful tips.
Why Should Agents Blog?
The biggest advantage to blogging is that – aside from what your time is worth – it’s free. If you waste that time by publishing garbage, or not posting on a consistent basis, then maintaining a real estate blog is actually quite expensive. This is why it’s so important that when you commit to the process, you follow through.
Once you’re up and running and consistently posting content about your local market, whether strictly real estate-related or not, local consumers will begin to visit your blog. You’ll also be able to show them your personality, so that they get to know, like and trust you.
If you’ve been in the real estate industry for over a week, you should know that there is no such thing as an overnight success. The key to blogging, as in most real estate lead generation techniques, is consistency. New leads probably won’t appear after your first post, but keep plugging away at it. It will take time for blog posts to generate web traffic – and leads. Be persistent and your efforts will pay off.
Basics of Good Blog Design
How many times have you left a website because the information you wanted was presented in a tiny font and one great big block of text? What your brain says is “Whoa, it’s a lot of work to read that.”
You’re in a hurry. You don’t have the time or desire to read all those scrunched-up words, and so you click away, knowing you’ll find the information somewhere else.
This is why the structure and design of your blog posts are just as important as what you write about. Concentrate on giving your reader lots of white space with short paragraphs.
Sub-heads are your friend. They act as a roadmap for the harried reader so that he or she understands what is coming next. They also add valuable white space. Consider breaking up long posts with bulleted lists and sprinkle the text with graphics and images.
Punctuate and Capitalize Correctly
Dump the exclamation points, please. “Get pre-approved for a loan!” is far too mundane to be considered an exclamatory sentence. Take a tip from the Associated Press Stylebook, every journalist’s bible. “Use the mark to express a high degree of surprise, incredulity or other strong emotion.”
Real Estate Agent shouldn’t be capitalized, nor should Listing Agent. In fact, your biggest worry should be to remember to capitalize the word REALTOR®, and then you need a cap for every letter.
If it’s been awhile since high school or college, brush up on basic punctuation and grammar. Check out Grammar Girl, Punctuation Made Simple, Common Errors in English and the Guide to Grammar and Style if you need quick refresher courses.
What Do I Write About?
If you actively work with clients every day, keep track of questions they ask and problems they have. Answer those questions and solve those problems on your blog.
“People think that a real estate blog should constantly be showing your knowledge of the market and I never do that,” Newlin continued. “I’ll write a couple of posts about things you should know about real estate, but I always do it tongue-in-cheek. For the most part I just write ridiculous stories.”
Those stories may be “ridiculous” to Newlin, but her audience hangs on her every word, and they’ve helped her build a real estate business based 100 percent on referrals.
Put a New Spin on Popular Topics
OK, so you don’t fancy yourself a funny guy or gal. If you’ve been blogging for some time, why not update some of your older posts that are proven traffic magnets?
“You can gather all the newest information on the topic, write a new post and then link back internally to the original post. It gives you both a brand new article on something formerly well received, and directs new readers (or old ones) to the first post you did on it. It’s great for traffic,” says Ann Smarty, brand and community manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas, writing at Basic Blog Tips.
Proofread, Proofread, Proofread
After writing a post, put it away for a while. When you return to it, read it aloud to get a feel for how it sounds. If you like it, proofread it for spelling and grammar errors and you’re almost done.
Write With SEO in Mind
How will you ever show up above the fold on the first page of a Google search? I’m no search engine optimization (SEO) expert, but I have spoken with many specialists on the topic.
One thing they all agree on is to be cognizant of the placement of your keywords. “Keywords placed in important areas like titles, headlines, and higher up in the main body text may carry the most weight,” according to Cyrus Shepard, senior content “astronaut” at SEO and software company Moz.
Most also agree that you need links in your blogs. These links should be both internal – linking to other pages on your site – and external. The latter not only helps your readers find more information on the topic, but search engines will see these links as useful as well.
Finally, push your blog posts out to social media to boost your readership. The more people who share your posts, the better your chances.
There’s a rumor in the real estate industry that 2015 is the year agents will finally get it. They will finally and fully “embrace content and inbound marketing,” writes Seth Price at Placester. “It’s still difficult for many in real estate to perceive the value in creating utility for consumers without turning that utility into an advertisement.”
“Publishing high quality content is the new equivalent of driving a Mercedes,” adds agent Anne Jones at Windermere Professional Partners. “You may not be selling million-dollar homes (yet!) but your marketing should look like you do.”